It’s my birthday tomorrow, and I couldn’t help but marvel a little bit at how far we’ve come with technology. I’m not writing about anything in particular today, just reflecting on my interaction with technology and video games over the years.
Computers were once upon a time something mysterious and amazing, something few people had at home. Now you have computers many times as powerful as what was available then, and we all carry them around in our pockets.
We spoke about video games like Tomb Raider and Soul Calibur at school, read cheat code books cover to cover and rented games from the video store. Everyone had skateboards and now everyone just has bad knees.
I remember ads for Final Fantasy Tactics in my comicbooks. I wish I still had all of them! They were great.
I was there for Pokemania, kids were carrying around GameBoys. I remember learning about Missingno., the rumored “Pikablu”, and the rumor that Mew was under a truck in one of the cities. Nobody ever had a link cable. We went to the local mall where the comic store held Pokemon TCG tournaments, and did the same for Magic: The Gathering a little while later. I remember playing Pokemon Gold on a borrowed GameBoy by torchlight under the covers and falling asleep in class because I stayed up too late.
I remember reading about the PS2 in gaming magazines and wondering how it could possibly be better than the PlayStation I already had. I remember watching The Matrix in cinema.
I am glad I was there for all of that.
I remember Y2K, the Millenium Bug, and how the world was going to end. I remember going to bed at 2am on 1 January 2000, the world very much still intact.
Sony entered the handheld market with the PSP. Microsoft entered the console market with it’s Xbox, and Sega was nowhere to be seen. Maybe at the arcades.
I remember Doom 3 pushing the envelope graphically at the time, with few of my friends PCs able to run it.
I remember Limewire, the early days of youtube, CDs were the most common media. USB was coming in as a much better solution.
I remember the 360 with it’s revolutionary wireless controllers, The George Foreman-looking PS3 coming soon after the Nintendo DS, the latter coming with Nintendo’s assurance that Gameboys were not going anywhere. I remember Skyrim convincing me, at last, to buy an Xbox 360.
The Wii came in by storm, and there were nearly 400 Pokemon. The OG Red and Blue were being remade. I remember Gameboys being discontinued. Some time passed, and there were now various iterations of the DS, with a successor announced soon after that.
I remember the absolute marketing failure of the Wii U, followed by the PS4 and Xbox One. It didn’t take long for rumors to surface that Nintendo was planning to can the Wii U, but these weren’t going to come true for some time. VR, a childhood dream, was beginning to become a reality.
And now, in 2020, we await a new generation.
We live in a time where we have unparalleled access to information, and I’m glad to be here for that too. Video games have never looked so good, nor have they been so immersive as they are today.
This is only getting more accessible as faster internet coverage becomes more widely available. I look at my gaming setup today, just as I looked at my PlayStation back in 1999, and wonder how much better it can get?
If the improvements in technology over my lifespan is anything to go by, I expect technology to keep surprising me. In some ways, it scares me but at the same time, it’s rather exciting to witness these strides as they are taken.
It’s true that the current situation around the globe will probably trip things up a bit, and it really sucks to celebrate my birthday in isolation, but we are fortunate to have these things and to be connected in this way. I think it’s something that can give us hope.
It’s impossible to guess what the future holds, but for you, dear reader, I hope it holds good things beyond your wildest dreams.
To everyone here at TAY, and elsewhere, I hope you all stay safe and healthy. I hope we can all witness this bright future together. What do you hope for?